If you love fantasy, you probably prefer one type of fantasy over the other. This preference often has to do with the goal for your reading as well as with the type of journey that ignites your imagination.
If you like to escape harsh reality, you may like lighter types of fantasy. If you want to experience larger-than-life adventure, you may like Heroic or High Fantasy. If you are romantic, you may like Romantic Fantasy and if you are like me, who likes to engage my imagination in journeys that are relevant to and transformative of my real life, then you will like Visionary or Shamanic Fantasy.
There are so many types of fantasy these days! Here’s a small list:
- Alternate History Fantasy– This is a retelling of historical events where magic or other elements of fantasy are involved. If you love history, you may love when authors add their imagination to historical periods or events. For me, going back to the past can clear the air from all the distractions of modern life to engage the truly archetypal aspects of my humanity. Sometimes when we need to deal with the wounds of the past, we seek Alternate History Fantasy as a way to transmute old stories.
- Comic Fantasy- When you need to laugh, release or something light, this may be your cup of tea. Humor is one of the healing powers inside anger, irritation and frustration; so if you are dealing with any of these emotions, you may need a tea of laughter from this subgenre.
- Contemporary Fantasy- If you like urban settings and flying over the present from a magical perspective, this subgenre may call you. Sometimes we want to dig under the routine, to give it magic and flight, to find meaning or to address the darkness in our modern life without getting depressed. Then Contemporary Fantasy may be the cup of words we need.
- Dark Fantasy- Sometimes when I need to explore the dark side of the soul or need a mystery to stir me into deepening my connection to my Shadows, so that I can hear what I am avoiding, I opt for this subgenre. I suspect that the human soul needs to dive into dark waters sometimes because I can feel my need for Dark Fantasy, Dark Regency Romance, or Mystery as an urgency. And when I’m there, anything light makes me puke. Really!
- Erotic Fantasy– Clear enough, isn’t it? I’m not a fan of this type of fantasy, but I do like a good erotic scene when it’s pertinent to the story and advances it. It stirs my juices, and when passion is stirred, Feminine Power is awaken. How about you?
- Fairytale Fantasy– Fairy tales were the first fantasies and they still carry archetypal potency. Many fairy tales are secretly about the Archetypal Selves within our psyche. The prince/king/knight is about our Sacred Masculine . The princess/queen/sorceress is about our Sacred Feminine. Seers, Alchemists, Wizards and Witches, Healers and Warriors are all aspects of the self. Fairy Tales are often archetypal quests to transmute a curse into a cure.
- Fantasy of Manners- I’m not familiar with this subgenre. Do you know about this? Let me know in the comments.
- Heroic Fantasy-Do you need a larger-than-life-adventure? Hungry for a heroe? Grab this subgenre. When we need to take action, to mobilize our Inner Warrior or to awaken our Sacred Masculine, we usually go for this type of fantasy.
- Romantic Fantasy– For us romantics. Romance is a call of the heart and love is the greatest power on earth. But we forget. We believe that romantic love is the only love. We get stuck in relationships that stifle us. Then we seek for larger-than-life, truly soul-deep romantic encounters to awaken our capacity to love and our faith in a love that goes beyond the ordinary. Sometimes we may be alone or not satisfied with our love relationships. I believe that women need romance in our life. It’s a type of magic. And if our men don’t understand and provide this, then we may seek this type of fantasy.
- Romantic historical fantasy– This is one of my favorites, especially if it has dragons and it’s not about killing them. (I love dragons!) I love romantic fantasy from the Regency or Medieval times.
- High Fantasy– Those are the epic stories where there are wars and the fate of the world is involved. Heroes abound. (Not my favorite genre.) But I suspect that when we want to become heroes through change-making; when we want to confront the painful injustices going on in the modern world through our imagination, we may look to this type of fantasy to become the heroes that we are not been or want to be in our real life.
- Low Fantasy– More intimate fantasy, where it may be the fate of a person at stake, or a town or villages faces danger. (Much better for me. More resonant with my feminine powers.) This fantasy helps us rise above our usual solutions, feel the magic in all of life, see the people around us with new eyes and acknowledge the value we bring to others as we identify with the protagonist and other magical characters that help solve the problem.
New/Old Fantasy Subgenres
During the last decades a new subgenre of fantasy has evolved now. Though it is new, it is a remake of an ancient storytelling art. Some call it Visionary Fantasy or Visionary Fiction.
This fantasy breaks the “4th wall” –the boundary between fiction and reality. It involves stories that are also roadmaps for real life or share deep spiritual paths.
Among these fantasies are:
- The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo
- Still I miss you, by Ines Pedrosa
- The Five People you Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom
- The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran
And a close cousin to this Visionary Fiction or Fantasy, there is another Fantasy/Fiction subgenre that you will not yet find in Amazon’s listings, but it’s the genre I write as a shaman.
Shamanic Fantasy has existed for centuries in the Medicine Stories of the Native Americans or the Journey Stories of the shamans from many cultures.
A shamanic story is a journey of healing or transformation that takes place as you entrain with the storyteller’s voice and enter the world she creates. You resonate with the protagonist and suddenly are walking on her shoes.
Your emotions, energy patterns and hidden stories are triggered, flushing towards the surface to be healed and transformed.
Your beautiful gifts, Personal Medicines and strengths are nurtured and you identify with the protagonists’ journey to awaken her power and use it to overcome your own challenges as you meet and triumph over the illusions and obstacles the protagonist faces.
In our modern age these stories are often accompanied by other resources that go beyond the book or storytelling, such as ceremonies, events, workbooks, home study courses or shamanic journeys that allow you to apply the story to your real life.
Are you curious as to what makes a fiction or fantasy shamanic? Here’s one of my novellas to give you an experience of this new–yest ancient– subgenre.
A Place for Roses
A Shamanic Fantasy Novella
In this novella, I reveal my experience as I was tracking down the Family Karma beneath my issues with love, health and money.
It wasn’t so neat as this. In actual life I was asking for clarity and going within to deal with issues that seem to deal with money.
But then a family holiday reunion became the hunting ground and as I face my frustration with the resistance my aunt had for each of my gifts, I realized that in my Family Karma wounds and patterns of love, health and money were connected.
This shamanic fantasy takes the “real life” experience I was going through and narrates it from my shamanic perception. It shares with the reader my inner experience as a shaman engaging situations in real life as maps, revelations and blueprints to my transformation.
If someone else who was present in the real life event ~like my aunt, for example~ would read the story, she may not recognize the story at all. Or she may recognize the external events, but not the inner journey and realization. I call this “shamanizing” the telling of a real life event.
In this particular story, my aunt’s character is called Emma. I never mentioned the name of the protagonist because it is me, you, whoever steps into the story.
In the story Aunt Emma keeps fighting every gift I offer her and I soon realize that she is a Sacred Mirror, reflecting my own resistance.
In the story I get to realize that this pattern is not only mine or aunt Emma’s. It is also a Family Karma of the creative women in my family.
If your interest is picked, you can enjoy this novella here: https://gum.co/roses
If you prefer to also get the workbook where I take you through the journey for your own life, get the book and workbook in the “Go from Blocked to Brilliant” Home Study Course at: https://gum.co/blockedtobrilliant
What is your favorite type of fantasy? Why?